Time for 20mph in Richmond

(Updated below – see the local 20’s plenty group, here.)

We think 20mph is plenty for our borough. Richmond has few roads where you ever really want to be doing 30mph, and the national (and international) evidence is mounting up.

You don’t think Three filmed this on a 30mph street, do you?

More and more, we’re hearing from other London boroughs, other areas of the UK, and from throughout Europe, about how slower speeds in residential and populous areas is a good thing for everyone involved.

But the council aren’t keen at all. Despite the Twickenham Action Plan including a 20mph limit, they’ve rejected a number of attempts to have specific roads go 20mph. Until recently, what you needed to do was this:

  1. Ask all the people in your road if they wanted a 20mph zone.
  2. Show the council that you had a majority – bearing in mind that anyone not answering is obviously a ‘no’.
  3. Have the council come round and consult again.
  4. And then get everyone to respond. And I mean everyone – because again, if they don’t reply, then the council will count that as a ‘no’.

So, you’d either need 51% of the voters to turn out, and every single person to vote for you, or if they all turned out, you’d need 51% of the voters.

Compare that to the council’s Heathrow referendum in 2013. On a 41% turnout, they had 72% against a third runway. If that had been a 20mph consultation, it would have failed. but here Lord True said “The people have spoken”. (Have a look at the lengthy discussion at the time on Twickerati, if you want to celebrate just how hard they made it.)

We think cycling needs somewhere safe, pleasant and calm, and if you read London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space 4 Cycling’ pages, you’ll see how 20mph zones are a key component of this.

So take a moment and tell the council that you want 20mph using one of the consultations going on:

Want to know more about 20mph? Try the 20’s Plenty site, read a paper from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, find out why Bristol is going 20mph, and Camden, and Islington

Oh, and here’s what Transport for London says:

 And an update: pop along to Richmond’s local 20’s Plenty group, and sign their petition. 

Two years on is it still the most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond?

Back in 2011 we reported on what we thought was the “most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond” where a mum was knocked off her bicycle by a car while cycling with her son. Fortunately the child was not hurt but the mother required medical attention. Serious though it was, they were lucky not to have been knocked onto the dual carriageway and hit by the passing traffic. Located on the A316 at the exit from London Scottish Rugby Club car park between Richmond Circus and Pools on the Park cars often exit as speed without looking for passing cyclists or pedestrians.

The photograph below shows the danger, a lady nearly knocked off her bike by a car exiting the car park.

So what has happened since 2011? Has the source of danger been removed and as we proposed, the exit closed and cars redirected to use the entrance?

The photo below was taken in 2011 from inside the car park. Cars exiting are supposed to Stop or Give Way depending on whether they look at the sign or the road markings. An advisory blue sign says ‘Cycle Track – Look Both Ways’

Is it Stop, or is it Give Way

Fast forward two years to 2013 and the picture below shows the current scene. The exit remains open and a new sign has been added off to the side stating ‘Cycles crossing’. The Stop sign has been replaced by a Give Way sign. No speed bump has been added and we continue to get reports from people cycling along this part of the A316 of close calls with cars pulling out at speed. The sort of person impatient enough to drive out at speed isn’t going to be influenced by the presence of a sign or care that it has changed colour.

New signage but not much else

It’s really disappointing that this is the approach to the safety of those cycling or walking along this stretch. People are quick to jump to ban cycling from paths and parks but there is a real reluctance to remove the danger when it is posed by motor vehicles. When was the last time you saw Motorist Dismount signs? Copenhagenize capture this cultural blindspot really well in this post.

As already said, this is a key route in the Borough, and is used by many families cycling to Pools on the Park and the Thames path. We’ll continue to pressurise TfL on this dangerous section – we met with them earlier this month for an audit of the A316 and this issue was highlighted.

You can do your bit to keep the pressure on – raise it via TFL’s online form and email our London Assembly Members – Tony Arbour (GLA Member for the area tony.arbour@london.gov.uk ) and Caroline Pidgeon (GLA Member for Transport – caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk) and also the Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk), to make the push for this serious safety issue to be resolved (cc us in so we have a record).

There is also an online discussion of the issue at our Cyclescape page complete with more recent photos.

It’s vital that this issue is dealt with, otherwise, next time we may be reporting a more serious incident.

Twickenham could be great for cycling.

It’s beginning to look like the Twickenham Plan is now going to have many more improvements than we’d previously thought, to support people who want to cycle in the area. (If you want to see where we’ve been, you can check out our last post on the subject here.)

Last week, representatives from Richmond Cycling Campaign met officials from the planning department to look at their revised ideas for the new Twickenham (or “West Richmond“, as it might be….) (Full minutes of the meeting – PDF) This was a follow up to our last meeting in November.

And although Twickenham isn’t going to be a Dutch style cycling paradise, we think that what has been described to us is a radical departure from the first set of plans we saw. (For a great suggestion for what Twickenham could really look like, check out the ideas that Paul, one local father has been looking at.)

Some of the highlights

Perhaps most importantly, Twickenham was accepted to be a ‘major project’ in TfL terms. This means that we can expect it to fall into this statement in the latest ‘Vision for Cycling

.. we will closely monitor all major new planning applications, schemes and developments, such as Earl’s Court and Nine Elms, to promote meaningful pro-bike content and discourage antibike content.

Which means that we can hopefully rely on TfL to refuse to pay for this, unless they’re satisfied that being able to access the area safely by bicycle is a key element of the project.

King Street …

[osm_map lat=”51.446″ long=”-0.329″ zoom=”18″ width=”300″ height=”225″ map_border=”thin solid blue” theme=”ol” type=”Mapnik”]

King Street (from Cross Deep to the London Road junction) will get 2m-wide cycle lanes beside a single 5m wide general traffic lane each way. In off peak hours – i.e. most of the day – this means you’ll be able to cycle quietly and confidently all the way along here. To complement this, the planners are aiming to make the Holly Road section bi-directional for cyclists, so that anyone going from Heath Road to London Road will not need to use the junction of doom (London Rd/King St/York St).

On the opposite side of the road, the engineers are looking at a cycling contraflow operating all the way along Church Street, so that you can approach from York Street, and cycle along Church Street, directly onto King Street, again without having to deal with the junction of doom.

A really important point about these lanes on King Street is that, although they won’t be mandatory lanes, the engineers are looking at ways to remove any chance of the conflict that cycling struggles with in other parts of the borough. As well as clear marking of the whole surface, they’re looking at some form of defined edge – such as the cat eye strips seen in the mayor’s new cycling vision – to really delineate the space.

… London Road …

[osm_map lat=”51.449″ long=”-0.33″ zoom=”17″ width=”300″ height=”225″ map_border=”thin solid blue” theme=”ol” type=”Mapnik”]
London Road will have at least 1.5m of cycle lane along all of its length, although it looks like there’s still some design and thinking to be done at the fateful junction with King Street, because of the ongoing requirements to be able to get enough traffic through there, especially to allow buses to move smoothly.

… Cross Deep …

[osm_map lat=”51.445″ long=”-0.33″ zoom=”18″ width=”300″ height=”225″ map_border=”thin solid blue” theme=”ol” type=”Mapnik”]
At the Cross Deep junction, they’re looking at including a new design for traffic lights which will give cyclists a head start, in an attempt to lower the level of conflict between transport modes (i.e. cars v. bicycles, bicycles v. pedestrians, etc.) This design is currently in testing at the Transport Research Laboratory, so we’ll need to wait on the results before we find out whether they’ll go ahead.

Also, the Cross Deep junction will apparently feature two 3m wide ‘general’ lanes, with a 2m wide cycle lane. This will ensure that anyone choosing to cycle on these sections will always be able to easily make their way to a safer position at the front of queuing traffic.

… & Parking and Railings

Not too much change here, partly because there’s no definite plan as to where all the cycle parking will go. There was some discussion around placing parking in the middle of King Street, like in Kensington High Street.

Kensington parking

Kensington parking (from Google Maps)

Obviously this wouldn’t be the only way to park, but it’s under consideration as an option. The removal of large sections of railing will also make a significant difference to the volume of cycle parking available in Twickenham, so if you have any strong opinions on where you think we should be parking, please tell us, and we’ll make sure it’s fed back to the council.

The removal will extend over almost every metre of railing present in Twickenham, including London Road and all the way to the station, which is going to be a huge improvement to the urban realm in the area, meaning you’ll be able to stop off more easily, and pedestrians will be able to cross at a point of their choosing, rather than being penned in to specific crossing points.

Some bonus tidbits

While we were there, we discussed some interesting background with the engineers. For example, they’ve surveyed the car parking provided in Twickenham, and they know that the main car parks have spare capacity at peak times.

They also discussed the impact that TfL requirements were having on planning and, interestingly for us, these seem very focussed on making sure buses can get through, which means that there’s a real change in direction from the ‘smoothing traffic flow‘ that has been a TfL stalwart for quite a while now.

Finally, it sounds like traffic volumes in Twickenham have been falling for a while now – we’ll try to get the figures for this, but it’ll make interesting reading, when considered against the plans for how traffic flows through the town centre.

London’s Mayor has a new cycling vision – can we join in?

Did you see the ground-breaking announcement from Boris Johnson and his new cycling supremo, Andrew Gilligan? It looks like this:

How Embankment might look

How Embankment might look (TfL image)

They want an “Olympic Legacy for all Londoners” and “a CrossRail for the Bike”. In fact, you just need to read the ‘key outcomes’ (page 9 of this PDF) to see the scope of their stated ambition:

1. A Tube network for the bike. London will have a network of direct, high-capacity, joined-up cycle routes … A ‘bike Crossrail’ will run, substantially segregated, from west London to Barking. Local routes will link with them. There will be more Dutch-style, fully-segregated lanes and junctions; more mandatory cycle lanes, semi-segregated from general traffic; and a network of direct back-street Quietways, with segregation and junction improvements over the hard parts.
2. Safer streets for the bike. London’s streets and spaces will become places where cyclists feel they belong and are safe. …  With government help, a range of radical measures will improve the safety of cyclists around large vehicles.
3. More people travelling by bike. Cycling across London will double in the next 10 years. We will ‘normalise’ cycling, making it something anyone feels comfortable doing. Hundreds of thousands more people, of all ages, races and backgrounds, and in all parts of London, will discover that the bike has changed their lives.
4. Better places for everyone. Our policies will help all Londoners, whether or not they have any intention of getting on a bicycle. Our new bike routes are a step towards the Mayor’s vision of a ‘village in the city’, creating green corridors, even linear parks, with more tree-planting, more space for pedestrians and less traffic. Cycling will promote community safety, bringing new life and vitality to underused streets. Our routes will specifically target parts of the Tube and bus network which are over capacity, promoting transfers to the bike and relieving crowding for everyone. Cycling will transform more of our city into a place dominated by people, not motor traffic.

So what about Richmond?

Now ask yourself which of these you wouldn’t like to see in our borough. And especially considering where we’ve been with the Twickenham Action Plan, it’s hard not to hope that our councillors and officials have read this vision from cover to cover. Phrases like

“Timid, half-hearted improvements are out – we will do things at least adequately, or not at all.”

leap from the page (page 10, in this case).

But most excitingly for Richmond, the mayor wants to create some ‘mini Hollands’ – “a fantastic opportunity for these boroughs to achieve dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.” Richmond could bid to be one of these, with tens of millions of pounds being earmarked for real change, showcasing just how great cycling provision can enrich the lives of everyone in our city.

How can I help?

If you think this sounds like a great vision, tell us, tell your local councillors, or maybe write to the local paper. Or, just bask in the naked optimism and real ambition that this vision represents.

What’s happening?

Post Updated 8th March 2012

1. Teddington Railway Station

We now know more about the proposed secure cycle parking at the station following publication of the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene [click here to read it]:

“It is proposed that 3 existing shelters on platform 1, with parking for up to 30 bicycles, will be enclosed with fencing to form a secure restricted access compound. This will be accessed by a security gate controlled by a swipe card which is provided by SWT upon payment of a returnable deposit.” [para 4.7]

This is also interesting:

“The Transport for London (TfL) Cycle Security Plan highlights that stations in Outer London suffer from a disproportionate level of cycle theft. The Borough has 4 stations in the top 25 stations (in Greater London) suffering the highest levels of cycle theft (2009/10)” [para 4.4]

Twickenham in 12th place, Richmond 14th, Hampton Wick 18th and Teddington 22nd [p18]

2. A305 Richmond Road – Introduction of advisory cycle lanes between Rosslyn Road and Richmond Bridge

We responded to the public consultation on this at the end of last year and we know others did as well. We highlighted that the lane, at 1.3m, did not meet the London Cycle Design Standards which state the minimum should be 1.5m, preferably 2m and that it did nothing to deal with challenges of crossing Richmond Bridge – You can read our submission to the consultation here.

Click here to read the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene to see which comments made it into print and what the Council Officer has said about them [Annex B]. On the subject of narrow cycle lanes, their comment was telling on their attitudes to cyclists:

“There are many examples where advisory cycle lanes of less than 1.50 metres provide a safe and convenient facility for cyclists, particularly when vehicular traffic is stationary or slow moving” (item h in this report). Have a look at this video by a local cyclist and see if you think the lanes are safe and convenient:

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It’s good to talk: Council highway engineering schemes

Update: 12th February Hampton Court roundabout

A big thank you to all the Richmond Veloteers who replied so promptly to the consultation which meant we submitted our response well before the deadline: click here to read it.

Since then we’ve had this back from Highways and Transport:

“Thank you for your comments on the Hampton Court Roundabout and Hampton Court Bridge proposals.  I can confirm that this does incorporate both Schemes 3 & 4 on the Cycling Capital Budget 2011/12.

The improvements include relocating the zebra crossing further away from the roundabout on the north east arm to help reduce the number of accidents attributed to shunts as a result of vehicles stopping for pedestrians at the crossing.  Kerb re-alignments will also increase deflection, reducing vehicle speeds whilst maintaining existing carriageway widths.

By widening the traffic islands at the zebra crossings we hope to improve safety for the large number of pedestrians and in doing so provide sufficient protection for cyclists using the crossings.

Accidents at the roundabout have also been attributed to lack of clear visibility due to the planters on and around the roundabout. We anticipate that by removing the planting on the roundabout we can reduce this number.

The Council are extending the shared use pedestrian and cycle path facility from Hampton Court Bridge to the north-west arm of the roundabout, with a view to further improving and linking to existing cycle facilities as part of future phases.

The Council have worked with TfL in order to provide a new widened Toucan crossing outside Hampton Court Palace and are proposing shared paths to link the roundabout and the bridge with Barge Walk.

The Council have also worked closely with Hampton Court Palace and the scheme complements their proposals for alterations and further improvements to the entrance and exits and to the area in front of the Palace.”

In the meantime the Highways and Transport report to the Cabinet Member has been posted on the Council website [here] together with the plans [here] for the shared use path, linking Barge Walk to the Molesey side of the Bridge, which weren’t posted with the original consultation.

We’ve written back to the Council:

 “Thanks for the detailed response: we’re very pleased to hear about the extension of the cycle path and look forward to seeing details of the proposed work in due course.  Just a couple of outstanding queries:

  • Was replacement of the 2 zebras [north-east and north-west arms] with toucans considered, and if so why was it rejected? [By the way will cycling over the north-west zebra be permitted?]
  • What’s the Council’s current view on creating a shared use path between Bushy Park and Hampton Court Bridge?”

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Richmond Entries for Cycling Facility of the Month ?

A nice clear logo to show where cyclists should ride

(Staines Rd Twickenham)

Textured paving and sign clearly show the end of shared use of footway. Just turn right to move to carriageway — over the fence !

(Sixth Cross Rd Twickenham.)

Fortunately there’s a convenient warning painted on the ground in case you don’t see the car before you hit it head on!

(Church Road, Richmond)

It is because of poorly implemented facilities like these (which are dangerous, both to cyclists and pedestrians) that we continue to plead with Richmond council to be consulted on future projects, but sadly they refuse to do so. At the end of the day, poor facilities are just a waste of the council tax that we all pay.

There are a lot more amusing examples on this website – Cycle Facility of the Month. It is a real shame, because with some attention to best practice, there is no reason why we couldn’t have facilities a much higher standard in the borough. Here are some examples of better quality cycle infrastructure (taken from Cyclestreets.net so some are better than others).

LCC AGM and Bow roundabout

Apologies if you were at the London Cycling Campaign Annual General Meeting last night and know all this.

The motion endorsing Go Dutch was passed with a majority.

Click here to read the welcome letter from the LCC Chief Executive concentrating on the imminent campaign and here to see the 10 Go Dutch Key Principles printed on the wallet-sized foldout given out at the meeting.

One of the words used by the Chief Executive to describe the campaign was “transformative“, which I take to mean “things will be very different afterwards”.  His letter refers to “3 flagship Go Dutch developments on major streets and/or locations” and during the refeshment break members were invited to comment on displays relating to:

  • Bow roundabout;
  • The Embankment;
  • Tottenham Court Road.

It wasn’t clear whether these are the “3 flagship developments” envisaged.

Bow roundabout was subject of an emergency motion that was passed overwhelmingly: click here to read it and here for the LCC Press Release.  While Bow is a long way from our Borough these very tragic events brings it close because

  • the first cyclist was a local man whose wife is working very hard and very publicly to stop it happening to someone else;
  • our members went on Saturday’s ride;
  • we all cycle, and
  • we’ve had our own argument with TfL about London Road roundabout.

Richmond Cycling Campaign is writing to London Assembly member Tony ARBOUR asking him to press TfL for immediate remedial work at Bow roundabout and you can to: tony.arbour@london.gov.uk

Here’s the reply from Caroline Pidegeon, Chair of the Transport Committee, London Assembly, to another members e-mail:

“I know that I speak for all Assembly Members when I say that I too am appalled by the tragic deaths of cyclists on London’s roads and am doing all I can to urge the Mayor to improve safety as well as hold him to account over his decisions. To this end, cycle safety in London has been discussed as a priority at several Meetings of the Assembly over the past fortnight.

At the Assembly Plenary on Wednesday 9th November, Assembly Members had the opportunity to question the Mayor in his capacity as Chair of Transport for London. I asked him outright if TfL’s roads are safe for cyclists, and indeed whether he takes cycle safety seriously. You can read the transcript of the meeting here

http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=179&MId=4331

At Mayor’s Questions yesterday (16th November), I urgently raised this matter once more. As a result, the Mayor has confirmed that TfL are undertaking a review of all of the roundabouts where serious injuries and fatalities have taken place so see what can be done to improve safety. Furthermore, he has agreed to meet with the family of one of the cyclists who was killed at Bow Roundabout. A webcast of Mayor’s Questions can be found on the GLA Website http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts, my question starts about 10 minutes in.

A written transcript, including responses to written questions tabled by Members, will be made available online next week http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=183&MId=4335

Please rest assured that I will continue to press the Mayor on this issue in order to hold him to account over his decisions which will impact on safety for cyclists. I am also keen to continue working alongside the London Cycling Campaign and other cycling groups to raise awareness and campaign for safer roads.

Click here for the flyer about the Bow Vigil this Friday evening.

With a Cycle Superhighway coming close to us, on the north side of Kew and Hammersmith Bridges, you may be interested to read here what Cyclists in the City say about one in our neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.

E-mail your thoughts to:  campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk

A316 Cycle Route

This post has been updated [again] on: 21st February 2012

Nothing new in the Mayor’s answers to these cycling questions, except being told work won’t begin until after the Olympics: no surprise there but maybe an opportunity to seek another review after the Mayoral Elections on 3rd May?

A316 cycle route (1) Question No: 200 / 2012 Jenny Jones

Will you look again at the past recommendations for light controlled crossings on the A316 cycle route at London Roundabout?  A constituent informs me that the recent changes by Transport for London to help cater for pedestrians and cyclists travelling east/west along Chertsey Road, crossing both arms of London Road, are minimal and ineffective.

Written response from the Mayor

A feasibility report into the signalisation of London Road Roundabout was completed in 2008.  At the time it concluded that it could be technically feasible to replace the roundabout with signalised crossings, but there would be costs close to £1m to divert the statutory undertakers’ equipment within the roundabout.  The cost benefit ratio of these changes is therefore deemed to be too high.  TfL is currently progressing an option to provide refuge islands for pedestrians and cyclists on the northern and southern arms of the roundabout.  These will alert motorists to the presence of crossing pedestrians and cyclists and will provide a safe waiting space to cross in two phases.  It is anticipated that these works will be constructed after the Olympics.

A316 cycle route (2) Question No: 201 / 2012 Jenny Jones

Will you make public Transport for London’s data for the predicted use of the London Road roundabout on the A316 and the judgement criteria that they used to decide that providing a continuous cycle route via a signalised crossroads at London Road/A316 would result in increased queuing and displacement of traffic?

Written response from the Mayor

Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

Yes, and we’re looking forward to reading it.

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